Imagine a Rap artist who’s worked extensively as a sarcastic chronicler. That’s CasinoATX, to put it mildly. Coming from Austin, Texas, with a staggering 20 years of experience in the music industry, Malcolm Richardson is as accomodating to musical progress and lyrical invention as one could ask for. Curiously unlike anyone else you’ve recently met, the rapper maintains the raw, unapologetic, beastly-like directness of the old-school legends with a palpable dash of sarcasm and audacity. Not for the faint of heart or the weak of mind.
“I need everybody to bow your heads for a moment/ Bring your problems to the Lord/ Bring your problems on forth/ Let him know what you need (It’s a Sinner’s Prayer)/ Let him know what you want/ Good Lord,” commences the rapper’s top acclaimed visual on YouTube. If you think this is a Gospel artist, don’t hold your breath. And then Lord Almighty indeed, we’re first hit by a vibrant, in-your-face, yellow suit, and then, by equally the most daring chorus you’ve yet heard this year: “I pray to God/ Stack Riches/ Stay swimming in mad b*tches/ And I blow the finest gas when I ride/ I pray to God/ These n***** stay handling this business/ Or a n***** gonna pull a homicide yeah/ Dear God/ I just want some big booty b*tches.”
We’re always astounded when we meet artists who’ve been in the game for a long time and yet their biggest success is recent. That shows CasinoATX stays on top of the industry changes. Evidently, we had to find out before anything else, just how did this masterpiece of a song come about: “My homie Dat Boy Supa and I had decided to do a joint project together, and we were checking out beats when we ran across that one. The producer had titled the beat Sinner’s Prayer and we thought that was genius. That’s when the line “I just want some big booty b*tches” popped in my head and we just went from there 😀 Being that Sinner’s Prayer was one of my favorite songs from that album, it’s a great feeling that so many people enjoy it as much as I did since it’s so critical of religion,” shares CasinoATX. Like we said, the virtue of directness is one recurring trait that you’ll encounter when consuming the rapper’s catalog be it visual or auditive.
Now hide your kids if you’re trying to get them to attend Sunday school/service ’cause it’s about to go down. “I grew up in a Baptist Church household. My grandparents went to church multiple days of the week thus involving me as well. I vividly remember getting in trouble in Sunday school because I would ask a lot of questions that the teacher couldn’t muster answers for. Like why didn’t the Bible mention dinosaurs in Genesis, and how could the world have been made in seven days while my science teacher said dinosaurs lived millions of years before us, and a whole lot of similar enigmas. That’s around the time I began seriously questioning organized religion. From there, I’ve just seen how a lot of corrupt people use religion to try and swindle people out of their money. I’m not saying all priests, preachers, or pastors are corrupt, but there sure isn’t a shortage of the crooked ones.” This is fun and enlightening at the same time for CasinoATX just proved his record Sinner’s Prayer, while entertaining on the surface, most somberly addresses the cracks in the book and the holes in the system.
With consummate visuals, astutely balanced lyrics, and a dose of irony that Gen Z is not ready for, we had to ask who was the man behind the beat. “Tone Jonez is the guy who produced Sinner’s Prayer. Super dope producer I was introduced to by my friend Dat Boy Supa. He actually produced all the tracks on our joint album AfroFuturistic,” divulges the artist.
Now peep this. CasinoATX’s second most viewed video, Make It Look Easy, is from 7 years ago. “Do you realize that these two videos being so vastly apart attest to your commitment of over almost a decade? How do you not get tired and still push?” we sincerely state. To which Malcolm gave the most unexpected answer in history. And as you’ll see, we’re not exaggerating either. This is powerful stuff. “Well, that’s the funny part, lol. I did get tired and I ended up taking a very long break from music. That’s the gap you’ll notice between my releases. In 2015 I released an album and while I was out pushing it and touring, I was going through a major breakup. Then in 2016, one of my kids passed away, and it took the wind out of my sails. I completely stopped doing music at that point. So from 2016 till late 2019, I didn’t create anything. It didn’t completely go away, but it went into hibernation mode. I started going back to my friend Chef Greezy’s studio in 2019, and that’s when I and Dat Boy Supa decided to link up and we created the AfroFuturistic album together. From there it’s like the floodgates opened up and I began writing nonstop. When the pandemic hit it just spurred me on even more, ’cause I realized life isn’t promised so while I’m here I may as well do what I love to do and have a passion for. So in many ways, I feel like a brand new artist, with a whole new focus and outlook on life.” And it shows. The difference in lexical power and sonic style is worlds apart between the two songs although each accurately reflects the period of time it was created in. “My writing style has changed for sure. Make It Look Easy was more just having fun with the bars, and saying whatever popped up in my head. I think a lot of my writing before my break was like that. Now I’m a little more methodical with my lyrics. I still try and have fun with it, but I put a little more thought into my lines, and what I’m trying to say overall,” adds the artist.
The loss of a son, however… quickly eclipses all other details. The fact that CasinoATX is still here, still doing music, still improving, still dreaming big, attests to the man’s character.
When asked what’s his favorite music video and the reason behind it, CasinoATX seems to have thought about this at least on another occasion or two prior to our interview: “My current favorite video of mine is a song called Happy Lil Trees. An older song of mine whose video we shot for damn near nothing, but we had a lot of fun with it. I bought a horrible Afro wig and raided my friend’s dad’s closet for 70’s attire. Shot a bunch of scenes dressed as Bob Ross the painter. Then we just shot some scenes smoking with my friends all over Austin. Very simple, but lots of fun. It was the first video where we just got really creative and out there with it. It set the tone for all of my videos since. Most people wanna look hard in Rap videos. I wanna have fun and give you something to remember.” And something to remember you gave. When you look at Happy Lil Trees, the feeling of the hungry artist taking his first steps towards a professional path becomes the epicenter of the video. The unprocessed footage, rookie angles, and obviously real friends and not paid extras make for epic memories and a highly relatable transitional phase for many upcoming artists.
“So what’s in the cards for you at the moment?” we ask of CasinoATX, to which he replies: “I recently signed a deal with College of Hip-Hop Knowledge aka CHHK. I’m putting the finishing touches on my debut album with them titled “The Kush Doctor”. As you can already tell I’m a weed connoisseur LOL. This album is all about it and how it played a significant part in various aspects of my life. From partying, to dealing with stress, to contemplating life, and even sex. I think people will get a kick out of it, but it will also surprise them.”
“What about the financial part? How do you support yourself and your music aspirations for an entire 20 years?” we allow ourselves to ask Malcolm. And of course, with instant comprehensibility for the upcoming artists that make up more than half of our audience, the rapper shares: “The early years were the hardest with the most concentrated amount of jobs I had to take on. But when I got to the point where I was in high demand, I learned how to do all sorts of other things. Mostly though I’ve done a lot of writing. I got paid to ghostwrite for bigger artists. I’ve even written album reviews and concert reviews for publications. At one point I was writing wrestling articles for a sports website. I’m a huge professional wrestling fan, lol. So I’ve learned to use my passion for writing, and make some extra cash from it. I used that to fuel my music career during slow times.” Gen Z, take notes.
“So when it comes to songwriting, what’s your mantra?” we have to pose the question as CasinoATX is not your typical rapper just throwing words in a bowl hoping the audience will fish for the right combinations. Yes, Travis Scott, we’re talking about you. The artist respectively holds nothing back: “Man, that’s a good question. I guess it’s: did I get my point across? Whatever I’m writing I want the listener to walk away feeling like they have a deeper insight into what I was saying, or at least walk away knowing my stance or where I was coming from. Did it make sense, you know? Some rappers are just punchline rappers, and that’s cool. I want you to get to know me, and how I think, so I wanna be clearly understood, THEN entertaining.”
The lexical vitality of Malcolm appears to be running in the family. “My mother is a writer, so I’ve always been into writing. I used to write short stories and I learned to play the guitar when I was around 8 years old. When I was in high school I wrote a Rap play for one of my classes and people said it was pretty good. At that time my mom and I lived in California. We ended up moving back to Austin TX not too long after that, and I met a bunch of kids in my new school that rapped, and I kind of dived into it from there. Been rapping ever since,” discloses CasinoATX, whose name you’ve most likely than not, had a hunch about. “At first I was just Casino. I went by that for a very long time. I always tried to look fly so it fit. Over the years though, it’s taken on new meanings for me. Casinos are designed to always win, hence the house always wins. I’ve adopted the mindset in arranging my life and business dealings by it. Whatever I’m doing, I have to be able to win from it. If it’s a no, it’s gotta go. And after I was back from my hiatus, I wanted people to find me faster and easier so I decided to pay tribute to Austin by adding ATX to my old moniker.” That’s gold for free right there.
With the talented rapper seeming to have found a way out of every bottom he hit in life, what’s the one thing that he finds the hardest in this music business? Luckily, CasinoATX provides an answer with the diligence of an archivist: “Online marketing is hands down the hardest thing in this game to me. Getting heard, and getting on the right playlists, or social media circles is new to me. When I started doing this, you had to be able to perform, and get out there and do hand-to-hand sales. So I would get most of my fans at shows, and sell them some merch, or physical CDs. Over the years the game has changed and became digital. So now, you have to be able to do the vast majority of your marketing online. I can do it and have learned how, but it’s something I struggle with. That plus the fact it seems everyone is doing it now it can be hard to make it through all the noise.” Well, today we’re hoping to help you, Malcolm, to cut a bit more through the noise you’re so right about. Truth be told, we miss the days when it was clear as day from one live show if the artist was worth investing in or not. Today, the technology, filters, cameras, and editors have, as a matter of fact, placed the wannabes in the same room with the professionals. Now it’s up to the consumer to get educated to churn through the ever-increasing noise. Start with CasinoATX today.
When inquired about the most rewarding thing about being an artist, the rapper rather immediately responds: “There’s no better high in the world than rocking a crowd. Having a crowd of people tuned in to you, and singing along to your music with you, is hands down the best feeling I’ve personally experienced. The largest crowd I ever performed in front of was when I opened up for Lil Jon. Had to be about 8K-10K people there when we went on. Talk about being nervous. But by the time we got off the stage they were cheering and carrying on as if they had come to see us specifically. Awesome feeling.” The enthusiasm shines through and the drive is thoroughly felt. And props for never name-dropping. We wouldn’t have known CasinoATX opened for the one and only Lil Jon unless we had asked him this very question that carries tangency into the artist’s past. Impressive to say the least.
Now we want to ask the one thing many shy away from answering altogether: “What is your personal top 5 made of today’s living rappers?” Have we unleashed the beast? Let’s find out. “Kendrick Lamar as he’s super creative, smart, and has a message. Eminem because of his amazing vocabulary and use of words. Bold. Talks about every aspect of his life really letting you in. Andre 3000 from OutKast. Completely original. Definition of outside the box for me. Being that he’s also from the south, he was a huge influence. Devin The Dude. Great storyteller. Funny as hell. Down-to-earth raps about an average life. Loves weed! And Ludacris. In his heyday, he combined all of the things I liked about the four rappers I named above and was able to put it into a package that just about anyone could digest. From his far-out videos to his energetic smart flows, I was a huge fan. If I could make videos like anybody, he’s someone I would emulate,” laboriously details CasinoATX. That went much better than expected and also we’re assuming the enumeration was in descending order based off what he said about Ludacris :star:
To conclude the very personal, very thought-exploring interview we’ve had the honor to conduct today, we’re letting CasinoATX shout out the key people in his life: “I wanna give a shout out to my kids. They have kept me going for sure. My best friends Scipio and Mathis, for pushing me from the beginning and through all the years. My engineer and good friend Chef Greezy, who always gets me sounding right. My Frat House Gang brothers Dat Boy Supa, Kazanova, and Legacy who helped me get through some tough times and dark days. There are so many people who have helped me through the years, we wouldn’t have enough room to name them all. Most importantly though, I wanna thank my fans and listeners over the years. Anyone who’s ever played a song, watched a video, or come to a show, I do it for y’all. Thank you!”
You can personally reach out and share your interview impressions with CasinoATX on his social media on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you also do your part in making the world a better place by adding CasinoATX’s revelatory music to your playlist on Amazon HERE, on YouTube Music HERE, on Deezer HERE, on Apple Music HERE, and on Spotify below:
Interview conducted by Mariana Berdianu
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2021